Liver Shunt Research for Family of Dogs:

Karen M. Tobias, DVM, MS, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Professor, Small Animal Surgery, University of Tennessee Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

New Research - November 2002

To further help Dr Tobias in her search for finding a way to eliminate this terrible disease we are searching for "Family's" of dogs that have produced puppies with Liver Shunts. We need, Parents, Grandparents and Sisters and Brothers to work with. If you would like to help us eliminate this terrible and heartbreaking disease and have such a family of yorkies please let us know. We will assist you with travel arrangements and expenses to Dr Tobias at The University of Tennessee.

Liver Shunt Research update:

Would DNA help you?

We haven't done any DNA work yet; so far Michigan and Ohio State have not been successful in this endeavor. If the gene is one of incomplete penetrance or variable expressitivity, then it might be possible that a lot of Yorkies carry it but don't have the disease. Finding a gene (if it is only a single one) is like those kids' games where you try to find out what's different between the two pictures. We look at DNA from normal dogs and DNA from abnormal dogs and then try and figure out which genes are different. Since DNA will vary a little from Yorkie to Yorkie, anyway, we have to find a gene that is consistently different looking in the abnormals. If some Yorkies are walking around with the gene and never develop a shunt but maybe have mildly increased bile acids, then it's going to be alot harder to identify the gene. That's why I'd like to narrow it down a bit with a related family. Their genes should be much more similar and maybe the search will then be easier. If there are several animals of different generations that are affected, and we can test the supposedly normal brothers and sisters, we may also be able to tell at a glance whether the trait is dominant or recessive, and that would make the gene search a ton easier. Karen

Karen Tobias DVM MS ACVS
University of Tennessee
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
P.O. Box 1071
Knoxville TN 37901-1071

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